The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, has said she is prepared to try to switch from Holyrood to the House of Commons by putting herself forward for a Westminster seat in the future.
Davidson made it clear that her priority was the 2021 Scottish parliament election, but admitted she could be ready to “start other conversations” after that time.
In an interview with the Spectator, Davidson was asked what would happen if her party came third behind the SNP and Labour, and said: “I’ve been leader of the party now for six years. My two predecessors lasted six and a half years each.”
By 2021 she will have been in place “significantly longer” than them, Davidson said, adding: “Then we can start other conversations.”
Asked if that could include coming to Westminster, the MSP admitted: “I haven’t ruled it out. If devolution is going to work, then actually there has to be the ability to move between chambers and parliaments.”
Pushed as to whether that would mean standing for a Scottish constituency, she said: “Yes.”
Many Tory modernisers want to see Davidson make the move to Westminster because she could be a potential future leader.
She introduced Theresa May at the 2016 Conservative party conference with a markedly more liberal and pro-immigration speech than the prime minister delivered, and is regarded by centrist Tories as a champion of the compassionate conservatism they fear the party has abandoned.
After overseeing a revival in her party’s fortunes north of the border, she has made a growing number of interventions in UK-wide politics in recent months, including on the sexual harassment scandal, when she discussed plans with May for a tougher code of conduct, and saying publicly that “some pretty big shovels” would be needed to “clear the stables”.
The Tories were left with one seat in Westminster after the 2015 general election, but in June, they took 13, after the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon sought to capitalise on the Brexit vote by reopening calls for a fresh independence referendum.
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